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As technology continues to develop, more and more applications become not just convenient, but necessary. It was less than a decade ago that it was inconceivable we would 'need' to carry a consumer device to access the internet in our pockets. Today, it is essential. The same is true with the applications we use for business, commerce and government. They need to be accessible in our pockets 24/7.

Along with this convenience comes the hassles of securely gaining access to these applications, and to do so without putting the security of important organizational data at risk.

Akamai IT Challenge - 100 apps on EAA in 100 days

About a month or so ago I shared a quick video interview with Joe DeFelice. Joe is a Sr. Director Enterprise Security & Infrastructure Engineering here at Akamai. In the video Joe outlines a few of the major initiatives he and the team are working on, including moving towards eliminating the VPN.

Since then quite a lot has happened. In particular the challenge that Joe set his team - move delivery and access of 100 Akamai enterprise applications to Enterprise Application Access, all in 100 days.

Secure (and Simple) SharePoint Remote Access

SharePoint, Microsoft's 16-year-old flagship file storage and collaboration product, is used by over 200 million worldwide users. Likened to a Swiss Army knife, SharePoint performs so many functions that it has become an integral part of most enterprise IT fabrics. Of course, it is not perfect - no product is. And like many incumbent products, there are always new challengers ready to deliver advanced feature and performance capabilities. Google Apps and Slack come to mind, and even claim to be taking away some - albeit modest - market share.

Why moats and castles belong in the past

We are all familiar with the enterprise security approach of treating an organization like a castle, and protecting it with a moat. Moats have been used for perimeter defense since ancient Egypt. While the moat and castle enterprise security approach has worked well in the past it is starting to show its age.

From an IT management perspective, remote access management can be complex. Deployment, administration, testing and compliance is often multifaceted and time consuming, and security is an on-going concern.

Granted, I have talked with IT professionals who tell me VPNs - being the primary remote access technology deployed by enterprises - are not difficult to deploy and maintain. They tell me VPNs are a 'set it and forget it' technology, and they serve their organizations well because they have just a few remote workers.

With the acquisition of Soha Systems, Akamai's vision of bringing a simpler, more secure access approach to the enterprise is now available. We have blogged about this, most notably an excellent piece penned by Lorenz Jakober titled "Secure Enterprise Access Needs to Evolve".

If this is a new topic for you, the case for enterprises needing a new access model is:

  • VPNs, a staple of IT Networking for more than twenty years, have failed to evolve to meet today's remote access requirements.
  • Today, employees are mobile, and need to access applications hosted in different clouds and physical datacenters.
  • In increasing numbers, enterprise contractors, partners and customers - the global partner ecosystem - are also accessing "behind-the-firewall" applications. 
  • Using traditional VPNs to support these requirements brings increased complexity and support overhead to both IT and InfoSec teams. 

As we know, enterprises have come a long way from the days when a few remote users needed access to a handful of applications. Now, applications can live in data centers, in AWS, in Azure - in reality, anywhere on the Internet.

So who really needs to access these enterprise apps?

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